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By Don Larson
Seeley Lake, Mont. 

Seeley Lake Sewer Board Revelations and Facts to Consider

 


SEELEY LAKE - A review of the Sewer Board meeting minutes is revealing. District residents should take the time to Google and read them. Just Google “Seeley Lake Sewer District” and look in the left hand column.

Among the revelations are board members, Missoula County Public Works Director Greg Robertson, Citizens Alliance Bank President Gary Miller and retired chemistry professor Walt Hill from Placid Lake all agree “selling” the sewer project to the district residents is their mission and getting the facts right is of paramount importance.

As an opponent of the proposed system for once I agree with these folks. Give us the facts and let us decide the fate of the sewer project. Opponents have been steadfast in asking for the full costs of the project and the board has consistently refused to identify and reveal the details regarding them.

Here are some facts to chew on while the board is deciding which facts they might feed us to sell the project:

• Board members have neglected to note their personal vested interest in the project:

1. One board member owns 20 properties in Sub-district 1 alone so he has a very strong personal interest in the success of the project,

2. The board president owns a motel which has unusable rooms which were added by a former owner without proper sewage capacity as well as a camping venue that also lacks desired sewage capacity.

3. A third board member owns 10 acres on or near the lake which he believes would be easier to develop with a sewer. He also owns a commercial RV wastewater dump on land currently developed as parking for a lakefront restaurant.

4. A fourth board member has a sign hanging in his family business indicating that his septic is too small to allow anyone but employees to use the restroom facilities until a sewer is in place.

5. One board member may not have any vested interests in the sewer.

• The Board has made alterations without a public hearing or vote in the district makeup seemingly to exclude opponents and include proponents.

• The Board has arranged things so that owners of multiple lots have a voice for each lot they own--so the board member with 20 properties gets up to 20 votes if he signs all his properties up for sewer service while the individual homeowner gets one. This may not be terribly unfair except for the fact that a legal election regarding acceptance of the sewer project was circumvented.

• Businesses and residents in Sub-district 1, the first of the four phases to be developed, have been given complete power by Steve Trondle, the USDA agent to get all the say about the sewer project. Folks in sub-districts 2, 3 and 4 have been effectively disenfranchised or shut out of the process, but will still be REQUIRED TO PAY despite the fact it will be years before they get service (and there is no guarantee that that will even happen).

• The currently defined Sewer District encompasses fewer than 25 percent of the creek, river and lakefront properties in the watershed so will do little to protect water quality.

The Seeley Lake Sewer District Board should be recalled and the District should be dissolved. The Boards incompetence and malfeasance in office has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars already and has us on a track to spend up to $20 million for a “completed” sewer project which will serve roughly 500 units. Do the math, folks. Then ask yourself if you can afford a boondoggle shadowed by so many unanswered questions.

 

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